wooden stadium exterior

Rendering: Zaha Hadid Architects

After a seven-month competition involving over 50 participants from around the world, a designer has finally been chosen for the new Forest Green Rovers soccer stadium. The Stroud, England-based team announced last week that legendary architecture firm Zaha Hadid Architects will do the honors after submitting plans for an eco-friendly stadium made almost entirely out of wood.

Never heard of a wooden stadium? That’s because currently none exist — according to Forest Green Rovers Chairman Dale Vince, the one designed by Zaha Hadid Architects will be the first in the world. And because wood has very low embodied carbon, the structure will also be the greenest stadium worldwide.

wooden stadium field

Rendering: Zaha Hadid Architects

“We’re thrilled with the concept and the amount of thought that Zaha Hadid Architects put into their design — their experience of stadia design and their ability to put environmental issues at the heart of what they do really stood out,” said Vince, adding, “[t]hey took a really challenging brief, ran with it, and have given us an innovative and original new stadium.”

wooden stadium interior

Rendering: Zaha Hadid Architects

But why the eco-friendly focus? Interestingly, the plan is for the new Forest Green Rovers stadium to be the centerpiece of a 100-acre Stroud development called Eco Park. Proposed by green energy company Ecotricity, the complex will have two main purposes — half of it will be devoted to state-of-the-art sporting facilities, and the other half will hold sustainably built commercial offices and light industrial units. Ecotricity is Stroud’s largest employer, and the company has already submitted a proposal for Eco Park to the city.

wooden stadium players

Rendering: Zaha Hadid Architects

Other stadiums designed by Zaha Hadid architects include the London Aquatics Center, used during the 2012 Olympics, and Qatar’s Al Wakrah Stadium, which will take center stage during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The firm also designed a stadium for Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics, but the Japanese government ultimately ended up going with a different design.

The runner up to Zaha Hadid Architects was Glen Howells Architects, and Vince, who’s also the founder of Ecotricity, said that his company will be working with the firm on other projects in the future.

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